The crest of Servite High School dates back more than 750 years to the earliest days of the Servite Order in Florence, Italy. The crest is a black shield outlined in gold, with the letters “S” and “M” superimposed. Atop the shield lies a gold crown with seven points.
The letters “S” and “M” stand for “Order of Servants of Mary” (Servites) referring to the Order of priests and brothers who own Servite High School, and the world-wide community of Servites that also includes sisters and lay-people.
The crown represents Mary’s crowning as the Queen of Heaven. It has seven points representing the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order who were canonized as a group as saints by the Church in the 1800’s.
The formal version of the crest places the shield atop the cross, recognizing the school’s commitment to Christ, the cross and the Church.
When we look at the crests of the Servite Order and specific Servite communities, we can see the traditions and themes that link all of us together throughout the world and through almost 800 years of history.
The first Servite monastery was built in 1245 on top of a 2500ft mountain about 15 miles northwest of Florence, Italy. Known as “Monte Senario”, the monastery still uses the crest consisting of a cross atop a mountain of six boulders with the letter “S” mounted on the cross. The “S” stands for “Servants” as the Servites are known in Italy.
When the Servites returned to Florence later in the 13th century, they built a church (now a basilica), Annunziata, several blocks from the Duomo (cathedral) in downtown Florence. The crest for the Annunziata community consists of an ornate gold “S” atop a royal blue background. The lilies growing up through the “S” represent Mary who, as the stem of the lily, gives life to the flowering blossom, Christ.
As time went on, the Servites elongated the flowering lily and drew them around and down on both sides, forming a “M” for ‘Mary’. The crown symbolizes Mary as the Queen of Heaven and the seven points represent the Seven Holy Founders of the Order. This crest, or variations of it, are commonly used by Servite communities around the world include Servite College (high school) in Perth, Australia and Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska.